STEM with computers and robots – meeting in Latvia

The tiny Latvian town of Dundaga has a rich and secret history. The walls of the medieval castle are still haunted by the spirit of Jumprava – the sister of one of the local barons, walled up alive. In one of the town squares there is an unusual crocodile statue. It was placed in memory of the inhabitant of Dundaga – Arvids Blumentals, who after emigrating to Australia became famous as a crocodile hunter. He was the prototype of the protagonist of the film “Crocodile Dundee”. From 14 to 18 October, the primary school in Dundaga hosted the third meeting of young people from Bulgaria, Latvia, Estonia and Poland as part of the epiSTEMe project.

Visiting the town in international groups, combined with carrying out tasks requiring the ability to use ICT, inaugurated a number of activities that the students of our school bravely faced up. On the second day of the visit, we visited the Faculty of Biology and Chemistry of the Riga University. The university with modern equipment organized workshops during which students performed chemical experiments on their own. The great attraction of that day was a visit to the “House of Illusions”, where it was difficult to find rational explanations for the phenomena experienced.

The October meeting was held under the slogan “STEM with computers and robots”, so there were activities related to programming. Students took part in interesting classes, where they explored the secrets of coding while competing and having fun. In Kolka, the Liwów Cultural Center the students dealt with Scratch programming. They faced an even greater challenge at the Faculty of Computer Science of the University of Ventspils, where university lecturers introduced young people to the secrets of 3D coding in Python. The meeting with the “reptile” showed that for programming at a higher level, a very good knowledge of mathematics and physics is necessary.

Returning from Ventspils, we visited the International Center for Radio Astronomy, the aim of which is to observe distant extraterrestrial objects, as well as to search for solutions used in space technology. This extraordinary place related to the military history of the Soviet Union has provided us with many, not only scientific experiences.

It is impossible to describe all the events and attractions that accompanied the students during the Latvian meeting. They will be happy to share their impressions with you and tell you about other, less official episodes of the visit.

Program of the event